Ragtime (1981) - full transcript

The story runs in the 1910's New York. Coalhouse Walker Jr. is a black piano player. He has won fame and fortune playing with a jazz band. Some white men do not like this situation, and one day they assault him and spoil his brand new car. Walker tries by all means to get justice, without an answer...

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♪ [ Piano: Waltz ]

♪ [ Melodramatic ]

♪ [ Upbeat ]

♪ [ Lively ]

♪ [ "Battle Hymn
Of The Republic" ]

♪ [ Dramatic ]

[ Chattering, Laughter ]

[ Bell Ringing ]
[ Man ]
My friends--

Ready for dessert?
[ All ]

Specialty of the house
is served chilled,

but it melts very quickly.
[ All Laugh ]

So I suggest
that we gobble it up.

[ All Exclaim, Applaud ]

Yeah, I'd like to see
Stanford White.

Who, may I ask,
is calling?

Uh, here's my card.

[ Gasps ]


Are you in there, White?

[ Pounding Continues ]

Open the door!

- [ Shouting ] White!
- ♪ [ Stops ]

Who is it?

You know who it is.
You know damn well who it is!

- Harry K. Thaw of Pittsburgh!
- [ Guests Murmur ]

Don't you think this is
a bit irregular, Mr. Thaw?

Look, I want to talk to you!

Hardly a way to go about it,
Mr. Thaw.

- [ Gasping ]
- Don't play with me, White!
Look, open the door,

or some friends of mine
will open it for me.

I'm serious!

What-What do you want?

[ Scoffs ]
White, I'm here for the statue.

I'm takin' it down!
I'm getting tired
of this ridiculous business.

Why don't you go away now...

and save me the trouble
of calling the police?

- [ Crashing ]
- [ Gasping ]

- [ Door Breaks ]
-[ All Gasp ]

Goddamn it, Thaw,
that door is priceless!

When are you going to stop
this ridiculous charade?

You're the one
that's creating the scandal!
I can see what's goin' on here.

- Mr. Thaw--
- I know what you do
with your chorus girls.

- Mr. Thaw--
- I know what
all you people are up to!

I'm sure the police'd
like to know too.

Mr. Thaw, let me introduce
Commissioner of Police
Rheinlander Waldo.

I'm sure he'll be fascinated
by all the stories
you have to tell.

Look, I'm not a fool.

You hear me?
I'm not a fool.

I know exactly
what I'm doing.

'Cause I'm smart.
I'm smarter than you are.

[ Guests Murmuring ]

- My apologies.
- ♪ [ Resumes ]

Are we ready?
Yes, I think so.

Let me see your hands.

Other side.

So, did anything interesting
happen to anybody this week?


So I'm the only one,
am I?
What, dear?

I was going over
our accounts the other day,

and it seems our factory had
its best quarter ever.

And I was rather intrigued
to discover...

that the items which were
moving most rapidly...

were the new firework designs
by your brother.

That's right.
[ Chuckles ]

Not too long ago I had some
doubts that you had the stuff
to be my partner one day.

But I'm very encouraged.

Very encouraged.

And by way of thanks,
I'd like you to say
the family grace today.

Um, could we all
bow our heads?

[ Woman Screams ]

[ Screaming Continues ]
Jesus! Jesus!

What is it, Bridgit?
[ Sobbing ]

What's wrong?

Oh, my God.
[ Baby Crying ]

what did you do?

Answer me!
I didn't do nothin'.

Then what is that child--
I was pouring out
the water from the vegetables,

then there was a terrible
screamin' on the ground, and
I looks, and there was a baby!

[ Continues Crying ]

Call Dr. Mueller.
I'll do it.

Where are you taking it?

Not in the house?

Well, he's breathing fine.
Heartbeat's strong.

Seems like a healthy child.

Is there anything
we should do?

Well, keep him warm and dry,
and don't worry yourself.

If he needs anything, he'll be
the first to let you know.

He'll be fine.
Don't worry.
[ Knocking ]

We found this one
hiding in a cellar
a few blocks away.

She won't talk.

You go on to your room.

[ Baby Fusses ]

is this your baby?

Lady, is this your baby
or isn't it?

You wanna make life
easy for yourself
and tell us yes or no,

or do you want me to ask
the doctor here to examine you?

Doctor, do you mind?

Could I have some privacy?

Jim, would you
care for some tea?
No, no. That's all right.

Quite a situation.


There you are.

These niggers drop babies
like rabbits.

Fellow runs off,
and, of course, the woman
tries to get rid of it.

What's going to happen
to her?

She'll get six to eight months--
child abuse, abandonment,

attempted murder.

And then she'll
get pregnant again.

What'll happen to the baby?
They've got places
for them.

Pickaninny farms, I call them.
[ Laughs ]

Well, she's definitely
given birth recently.
That's about all I can tell you.

I'll give you a report tomorrow.

Sorry to see your Sunday dinner
disrupted like this, folks,

and I guess I'd better be
getting back to mine.

Good day.
Good day, Doctor.

- Thank you, Doctor.
- We're going to need
your signature on this.

Just a formality,
and then we'll take them
off your hands.

Excuse me, dear.
Would you mind if I asked
the inspector a question?

Oh, no.
No, you go ahead.

She's going to be
put into prison, isn't she?

- Oh, yes.
- Without her child?

Well, a woman who abandons
her baby like this--

I think it would be better
for the baby if they were
separated, don't you?

- We're not dealing
with Christians, ma'am.
- Exactly.

These people don't have
the same sense of family
as what we do.


Would it make
any difference in her case
if we were to take her in?

Temporarily, of course.

Dear, you don't mean--

Nobody's even talked to her.

Nobody knows what
made her do it. If we knew,
maybe we could help her.

If, if, if, if.

- I'm just asking.
- It's out of the question.

My wife is
a very generous woman,
which I appreciate.

Excuse us for just a moment,
would you?

My wife wants
the statue down.

Right, Evie?

Right, Evie?

Yes, dear, yes.

Yes, what?
Tell them.

[ Shouting ]
Tell them!
What do you want?

Yes, I want
the statue down, please.

- See?
- Yes, Mr. Thaw.

We quite understand
your feelings in the matter.

No. Look, uh,
he put that statue up there
to make me look like a fool.

I'm Harry K. Thaw
of Pittsburgh!

I've got my reputation
to think about.

I'm not havin' my wife
on public display!

Of course not,
Mr. Thaw.

Now, uh, regarding
the possible grounds
for legal action--

Exactly! Legal grounds.
Now you're talkin'.

There aren't any,
Mr. Thaw.

What the hell
are you talking about?

You're lawyers. Find some.
For God's sake, she's my wife!

She's not a chorus girl anymore.
She's not a model.

She's not his mistress.
She's my wife!

I want you to do whatever
the hell you have to do to get
my wife off that building.

Yes, Mr. Thaw.
We'll do everything we can...
within the realm of the law.

Because if you don't--

[ Horn Honking ]

♪ [ Upbeat ]

♪ I've heard men say so often
they could love
their wives alone ♪

♪ But I think that
such foolish men must have
hearts made of stone ♪

♪ Now, my heart is made
of softer stuff
It melts at each warm glance ♪

♪ A pretty girl can't
look my way
without a new romance ♪

♪ Oh, I could love
a million girls
with every girl, a twin ♪

♪ I could love a Chinese girl
an Eskimo, a Finn ♪

♪ I could love a German girl
a girl with golden curls ♪

♪ In fact I think
that I could love
about a million girls ♪

[ Chorus ]
♪ He could love a million girls
a million girls, could he ♪

♪ I could love a native girl
from far across the sea ♪

- ♪ He could love a redhead girl
a girl with raven curls ♪
-[ Applause ]

♪ In fact I think
that I could love
about a million girls ♪

are you a little warm?

Do you want to
take off your coat?
I'm fine.

I'm cool as a cucumber.

♪ Oh, I could love
a million girls
with every girl, a twin ♪

♪ I could love a Chinese girl
an Eskimo, a Finn ♪

♪ I could love a German girl
a girl with golden curls ♪

♪ In fact I think
that I could love
about a million girls ♪

♪ He could love a million girls
a million girls, could he ♪

♪ I could love a native girl
from far across the sea ♪

♪ He could love a redhead girl
a girl with raven curls ♪

I'll be back in a minute.


♪ I loved a girl
whose eyes shone forth
just like a crystal mass ♪

♪ I loved her
till I found out that
her eye was made of glass ♪

♪ I loved a girl
whose form it was
a gorgeous thing to see ♪

♪ I loved her till I found out
that part of it was a tree ♪

♪ Oh, I could love
a million girls
with every girl, a twin ♪

♪ I could love a Chinese girl
an Eskimo, a Finn ♪

♪ I could love a German girl
a girl with golden curls ♪

♪ In fact I think
that I could love
about a million girls ♪

♪ He could love a million girls
a million girls, could he ♪

♪ I could love a native girl
from far across the sea ♪

♪ He could love a redhead girl
a girl with raven curls ♪

-♪ In fact I think that I could
love about a million girls ♪
-[ Screaming ]

[ Crowd Screaming ]

- [ Gasping ]
- [ Screaming Continues ]

♪ [ Stops ]

[ Screams ]

[ Crowd Screaming,
Glass Shattering ]

[ Woman With White ]
Help him! Help!
Help him!

- Help him!
- Hey! Hey, you!

All right. Now, don't do
anything stupid.

J-Just give me the gun.

[ Sobbing ]
[ Man ]
Get a doctor! Get a doctor!

Aw, Harry! Harry!

Harry! Harry.


♪ [ Piano, Slow Waltz ]

♪ [ Ends ]

Oh, well, do you
want to know everything?


Well, all right.

He had these whips.

This was in this castle
in Austria that he took me
for vacation.

Well, he put me in a room,
and he locked the door.

And then he told me
that if I made any noise
that he'd do something to me--

something terrible.
Wait just a minute.

Whom are you talking about?
You're talking about
Stanford White!

[ Stammering ]
Oh, no, no, no, no.

No. No-- Stanny?
Stanny would never do
anything like this.

He was lovely.
Lovely man.

He admired me--

No, I'm talking about
Harry, my husband.

- Nonsense! My Harry would
never do anything like that.
- Just a minute, Mrs. Thaw.

- What you're saying is,
your husband did all this.

He had a whip,
a kind of a...

dog whip, and he started
to beat me with it.

I fail to see what this has to
do with the defense of my son.

Mrs. Thaw, you don't understand.
We have got to prove
that your son was insane!

My son is not insane!

Insane at the time
of the murder, Mrs. Thaw--

I'm sorry. But there is
a world of difference.

There's nothing wrong
with Harry.

All right, Mrs. Thaw.

That's fine.

Your son will be convicted
of murder in the first degree.

He will be executed

and, if that's what
you've hired me to accomplish,
I'll be very happy to oblige.

He was perfectly all right
until he married her.

- She's the only thing
wrong with my son!
- Ha! That's a laugh!

All right,
stop it, both of you.
Stop it right now!

Mrs. Thaw,
would you be kind enough
to leave me alone with Evelyn?

With pleasure,
Mr. Delmas.

[ Door Closes ]

[ Clears Throat ]

You know, Evelyn,
Mrs. Thaw is
a very generous woman.

Ha, that's another laugh.

You don't really want to see
your husband electrocuted,
do you?

[ Sighs ]

I guess not.
He is crazy, though,
you know.

Mrs. Thaw is prepared
to offer you
a substantial sum of money...

if you will
cooperate fully with us.

- What do you mean?
- I mean, if you testify
as directed in court,

and if the trial ends

for us, that is--
you will agree to divorce him.

Divorce Harry?
Are you kidding?

Oh, there's a great deal
of money involved.

- Yeah?
- A great, great deal.

How much?

One million dollars.

Now, you say
that Mr. Stanford White
beat you with a whip?


A horsewhip.
[ Crowd Murmurs ]

[ Gavel Pounds ]

A horsewhip?

You say also that he gave you
a drink that was drugged.
Is that right?


Was this before
or after the whipping?

Well, I don't remember.

He wanted to have
his way with me,

so he drugged me,
and then he whipped me.

[ Crowd Murmurs ]
[ Judge ]
Order! Order!

And you suddenly remembered
this horrible story,

decided to tell your husband
about it three years later...

on the very night
that you knew he was most likely
to encounter Mr. White...

at Madison Square Garden.

- Is that right?
- Yes.

No more questions,
Your Honor.

[ Crowd Clamoring ]

Could you
stay behind that car?

- What's the matter?
- It's not
a very pretty sight, ma'am.

[ Yiddish Accent ] Missus.
Here, here! Missus, here!
It's face cutting.

Missus. Missus!
Come, please. Come!

Missus, come.

If you wanted to see,
you have to, uh, to see.


- Yes, that's pretty.
- This-- it cost
about ten cents. Yeah?

What can be cheaper?
Missus, very expensive.
Make a discount.

Sit down.

Very pretty, huh?
You are very pretty.

Thank you.
Uh, this way, your body.

Go! It's good.
Down-- uh, to.

It's good. Okay?

Keep your face out.
This girl is my daughter.
She's beautiful.

Please, uh, like this.

She's wonderful.


She's uh--
Please, keep your face.
Keep your face.

She's, uh, wonderful.

- Why is she on a string?
- She's, uh,
very beautiful, yes?

Why is she
tied up on a rope?

Why do you have her
tied up?

Uh, I have to be sure
she will, uh, be not kidnapped.

Uh, will do her better
if she'll be connected with me.

Keep your face.
[ Man ]

- Hey!
- Go away, you.

- A word! A word, please!
- Go your own way.

- A very, very important
word for you!
- Do you see I am very busy?

I don't believe it.
Go your own way.

- We don't make up--
- Go away, huh?

[ Shouting ]
Will you go?
Will you go away?

You see I make a business?
Go away! Go away!

[ Speaking Yiddish ]

Do something, uh, for me--

Only one five minute.
Only one--

one two minute.

[ Foreign Language ]

[ Woman Screams ]

[ Man, Woman Shouting
In Foreign Language ]

[ Shouting, Laughing ]

[ Woman ]
My God, my God!
What the hell you--

[ Women Shouting ]

Katela, come. Come!

Meshuggeneh! Meshuggeneh!

[ Continuing In Yiddish ]

Where do you get
the chutzpah to judge me?

[ Screaming ]

[ Shouting ]
[ All Chattering ]

[ Wife Shrieking ]

What do you give me?
Nothing but tsuris!

- [ Speaking Yiddish ]
- [ Wailing ]

♪ [ Ragtime Piano ]

Thank you,
that was very nice.
We'll let you know.


What's your name?
Coalhouse Walker, Jr.

- Where've you been playing?
- Oh, here and there.

It's a band job, you know,
not a solo act.

- If it's regular work,
I'm interested.
- Okay, let's hear you.

Yes, sir.

♪ [ Melodic ]

♪ [ Continues ]

You know this book
what I have given you?

We have a lack in money.
Give me back this book.

I like it very much.
I make you another.

Just like this one?
The same.


If you give it to me,
I'll be proud with you, huh?

- Hmm.
- Now try do it--
try do it myself.

I, uh--

Oh, I see. Yeah.

You like it?

Well, it's-it's-it's
very interesting.

Where did you get this thing?
I do it, alone,
with my hands.

I've create.
You got any others?

I can do once more.
I can do everything--
what do your heart desire.

What do you want
for this thing?
All right.

I'll give you four dollars
if you agree not to
take this idea anywhere else...

and 40 cents for each one
you make for me.

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.
It's my pleasure
to introduce to you...

the newest and bluest member
of the Clef Club band,
Professor Coalhouse Walker, Jr.


Where is that man that usually
sells silhouettes here--
you know, with the little girl?

Oh, yes. Thank you.
This is it.

[ Horn Honking ]

Ma'am, I can't stop here.
We're blocking traffic.

That's all right.
You can go back.
I'll be back later.

[ Knocking ]

- [ Screams ]
- No, no, no, no.
Please, please don't scream.

You don't have to be afraid.
I am not going to hurt you.

Don't you move! You stay
right there! You stop! Stop!
I'm not...

gonna hurt you,
I just--

I mean, you probably think
I'm a--

I don't know, but I'm not.
I'm a businessman.
I design fireworks.

- This is my card.
- Don't come near me.
Don't come near me.

I, uh-- I actually work
for my brother-in-law.
He owns the factory.

But I'll be made
a full partner soon,
and then when he retires,

the company will go to me.

We do flags--
uh, flag buntings,

trims, trophies, medals--
anything for public occasions.

You can see where it says
on the card here "consultants
for public occasions."

But fireworks is actually
our biggest line.

Please take it.

What do you want?

Well, I want-- if you have
an evening free, I--

I know you're very busy,
but if you do have
an evening free,

and you would like to,
uh, do-- go--

I would very much like
to escort you to something.

No, no, no, no.
Please keep it.

I have more.
So, what do you say?
[ Clears Throat ]

Are you some kind
of a lunatic now?

I'm sorry.
I'm acting like one,
aren't I?

You should see me
at the office.
I am really not like this.

So, what do you say?
Do you have some free time?



You are?
I mean, might be.

I-- I mean, when?

What about right now?

Right now? You mean--

- Do you mean, just--
- Well, is there something wrong
with right now?

No! No, no, no, no.
It's just-- It's just--

[ Sighs ]
No. Nothing.
Now is fine.


escort me... something.
[ Giggles ]

[ Chiming ]

Dear, we're going
to eat without him.

Son, sit down.

Everyone sit down.


Don't worry, dear.
He'll be back.

If anybody should be worried,
it's me, isn't it? And I'm not.


You know
what he's like sometimes.
It's just his age.

Everybody goes through this.

Three days!
He hasn't slept at home
in three days.

He hasn't even
been at work.

He hasn't had the common
courtesy to telephone us and
let us know if he's all right.

- Has he been
in touch with you?
- Wouldn't I have told you?

I-- Yes.
Of course you would.


Let us bow our heads.
[ Sighs ]

For what we are about
to receive, dear Lord,
we give thanks.

[ Door Chimes Ring ]

I'll get it.
No, you stay right there.

I'll take care of this.

Good afternoon.
I wonder if you might
be able to help me.

Uh-- what do you want?

Well, I'm looking for
a young woman of color
called Sarah.

I'm told she was
taken in to this house.

Uh, who are you?
Oh, I'm sorry.

My name is
Coalhouse Walker, Jr.

Are you a-a-a relative?
I wouldn't exactly say that.

Well, what shall I tell her
is the reason for your visit?

Just tell her
that Mr. Walker would
like to have a word with her.

Would you please
wait around the back?

There's a colored gentleman

He says he wants
to have a word with you.

Well, I th--
think you'd better
go down and talk to him.

- Are you going to go down?
- No, sir.

Well, that's, uh,
not very good, is it?

But the man seems to have
some connection with you,

and I think I'd like
to know what it is.

Dear, she doesn't want
to talk to him.

I see.

And I suppose
that's the end of it?

[ Sighing ]
I-- Yes, yes.

[ Laughing ]

You're just as sweet
as you can be.
Yes, you are.

That's my child.

Excuse me, but I don't believe
anyone invited you in.

This is my child.

- This is a cute little devil,
isn't he?
- [ Cooing ]

- It is a boy, isn't it?
- Yes.

So you're the father.


Where's Sarah?
She doesn't want to see you.

[ Baby Cooing ]

Stubborn woman, Sarah.
Very stubborn.

Well, you tell her
I'll be back real soon,

And my apologies
for the intrusion.
Good afternoon.

[ Cooing Continues ]

[ Laughing ]

[ Crowd Murmuring ]
All rise!

Gentlemen of the jury,
have you come to a verdict?

Yes, Your Honor,
we have.

We find the defendant
not guilty of murder
in the first degree...

by reason of insanity.

[ All Murmur ]

I'm crazy?
[ Gavel Pounds ]

Goddamn it,
they think I'm crazy!

Mr. Thaw,
will you please stand?

You have heard
the verdict.

in such a case as this,
the bench would retire.

But I think in this instance
I would have to be
out of my mind...

not to recommend that you be
sent to the asylum...

for the criminally insane
at Matteawan...

until such time as duly
constituted medical opinion...

determines that you are
no longer dangerous
to the public at large.

[ All Murmur ]

[ Gavel Pounding ]
Order. Order.

Mr. Thaw,
do you have anything to say?


this whole trial
has been a fiasco.

Now, Mr. Thaw, please limit
your remarks to the statement
that I have just made.

No, listen to me.
No, no. Uh--

I'm as sane
as any man in this room!
[ All Murmur ]

You're the ones
that are insane!

This case is closed.

And you heard the testimony!
She was 16 years old!
He drugged her!

God, he ruined my wife!

He whipped her,
for God's sake!

She was 16 years old!

The man was a beast!
You should thank me!

Where's your sense of morality?

I did the law a favor!

[ Crowd Clamoring ]

[ All Shouting, Indistinct ]

It's right over there!
Look at that!

Evelyn! Evelyn!

[ Drunkenly ]
So what should I do?
Nothing! Absolutely nothing.

- We will do
everything for you.
- We'll take care of it all.

You'll teach me routines?
He is the dance teacher.

He's the manager!
No, no, I am the manager.

He is the dance instructor.
This is your agent,
and he is your lawyer.

All of us for one person,
for Evelyn.

That's all we care about.
This little piggy
went to market.

This little piggy went home.
This little piggy
had roast beef,

and this little piggy--

this little piggy
went wee-wee-wee-wee...

all the way to the bank!
[ Laughing ]

♪ [ Singing, Indistinct ]


Oh! Oh, sweetheart!

where have you been?

I'm so--
Oh, you waited for me.

You waited for me
all this time.

What were their names?

What were their names?
Whose names?

The names
of the people you just
spent the evening with.

[ Laughs ]

I forget!

I can't remember.
[ Laughs ]

these people are supposed
to decide your future,
and you forgot their names?



Will you open
the champagne?

I'll be right back.
One's an agent, one's a lawyer,
one's a manager.

I don't know.
They're so cute.
They're just adorable.

You know what I think
you should do? I think
you should find out their names,

and then I'll have
my lawyers check to see
if they're legitimate.

Evelyn, are you listening?


You can't be too careful
just now, you know.

You never know
when someone might try
to take advantage of you.


All my clothes went away.

[ Giggling ]

[ Clears Throat ]

Sorry to interrupt.
It's unfortunate timing,
I know, but we had no choice,

as you'll see
when you read this.

Now, uh, look it over,
and sign at the bottom.

If there's anything
you don't understand,
just feel free to ask.

Gentlemen, this is
a private residence,
and your presence here--

Shh! Now, wait a minute!
Stop! What is this?

- What's that, Mrs. Thaw?
- Number four.

"In compensation for my agreeing
to divorce Mr. Harold K. Thaw,

I shall receive a sum
of $25,000"? What's that?

I think that's clear enough.

Oh, no. No!

They are not pulling
that one on me.

I'm getting a million or
forget it. You were there when
they said I'd get a million.

That was when you were
suing him for divorce.

It's quite a different matter
now that you're an adulteress,

and he is suing you.

What-- Harry suing me
for divorce?

Well, Mr. Thaw is no longer
mentally competent. His mother
is making his decisions now.

I saved his life, damn it!

If I hadn't testified,
he would have gone
to the electric chair!

I would have been a widow
with all of his money!
She knows that!

- Mrs. Thaw--
- I earned that million dollars!
I want a million dollars!

Mrs. Thaw, adultery is
a very serious charge
in a divorce proceeding.

If you sign this now, you'll get
$25,000, and the divorce'll be
handled very quickly.

If you don't sign it,
the chances are you'll wind up
with nothing at all.

Now, you've got five minutes
to make up your mind.

I don't know
what this is all about,

but I do know that what
you are doing here is
completely illegal.

This is trespassing,
improper serving
of legal documents,

and before it goes any further,
I think you should leave.

And I will have my lawyers
contact you in the morning.

Well, who's got a pen?

Evelyn, don't.
Don't sign it.
You don't have to.

I could get my lawyers
to handle it.
When do I get the money?

It's right here-- cash.

Sorry to interrupt.
Good night.

This is incredible.

You shouldn't have
signed it, Evelyn.
You shouldn't have.

I don't want to have anything
to do them him anymore.

That whole family has been
all over my back for years!

Now I have the money.
I just want to forget it.

- But they are using you.
- So we're even.

Look, I can't let you
do this to yourself.

You have to have
competent legal advice
from people you can trust.

- Like who?
- I'll get my company's
lawyers to handle it.

I'm sure there's something
we can do-- there has to be.
Oh, all right.

I'll meet them. When?


Well, now, um--

the actual legal side of
the company is really more in
the hands of my brother-in-law.

So what I think we should do
is-is-is I'll consult with him.

You know what might be
a better idea?

I could introduce you to him.

You could come to our house
for dinner one night.

I would love you to meet
my sister too.
Well, that sounds fine.

You mean
you'll come for dinner?
Sure. Why not?

I mean,
we live in New Rochelle.

Well, that's okay.

[ Chuckles ]

[ Continues Laughing ]

They're not gonna
believe this.

[ Continues Laughing ]

[ Clock Chiming ]

Where is the young lady?
Well, obviously she isn't here.

Let's eat.

Oh, please, please,
let's just eat.

Aren't we going to get
any kind of explanation?

Well, I really don't want
to talk about it.

[ Chuckles ]
I'm afraid that's
not good enough.

I don't want to talk about it,
and if anyone asks me
another question,

I am just going to leave.

I don't understand.
You create this mystery.

You don't tell us
who this young lady is.

You build up everyone's
expectations. It's very...

[ Sighs ]

Well, I'm disappointed,
too, sir, you know.

Did you ever think of that?
I'm disappointed too.

Why don't you ring
for the soup, dear?

! Soup.


[ Door Chimes Ring ]

I'll get it.

Dear, Mr. Walker is
here to see Sarah.

I told him he could
wait in the drawing room
while I go up and speak to her.

Who's that?
The baby's father.

Or so he says.

Would you mind
bringing her these?
There's a little note on there.

Oh, they're so beautiful.
I'll be right back.

♪ [ Piano ]

Excuse me.

Your piano's
badly in need of a tuning.

You ought to take better care
of an instrument like this.

Would you mind
closing the piano?

Sit down, Mr. Walker.

There are a few things
I'd like to ask you.

Sarah. Sarah,
just say hello to him.

Nothing can happen to you.
You're safe here.

There can't be any harm
in just talking to him.

Oh, yes, it is.
Yes, it is.

He say one thing,
and then he say another thing.

And he make it
all sound so good.

It ain't nothin'
but talk, ma'am.
It ain't nothin' but talk.

I can marry Sarah,

and I will,
soon as she'll have me.

I couldn't before,
and now I can.

That's very fancy reasoning,
Mr. Walker,

but what it comes down to is
that you behaved abominably.

[ Sighs ] I wasn't living
any kind of life I could ask
a woman to share with me--

playing in beer halls,
moving-picture houses.

Some of those places
aren't even safe
for a man to be in.

So you just abandoned her?

That's how you handle
your responsibilities?

Uh, what kind
of music do you play?

Anything they ask me to,
and then I play ragtime.

Well, we have some music here.
Could you give us a tune?

Uh, maybe some other time.

I think what Mr. Walker's
trying to say...

is that he
doesn't read music.

Am I right, Mr. Walker?

I read music so good,
white folks think I'm fakin' it.

[ Laughing ]

♪ [ Classical ]

♪ [ Slow Ragtime ]

[ Sobbing ]

[ Footsteps ]

Oh, no, no.
Please, please,
please don't get up.

Are you all free
next weekend?

I'd like you to be
at the wedding.


Sarah's accepted my hand.

After all you've done for her,
it wouldn't be much of a wedding
if you all weren't there.

Now, I hope you'll accept.

No, no, no,
don't bother yourself now.

I have to go now 'cause
it's a long drive back.
I'll see you next Sunday.

I'll see you.
[ Yells ]

- [ Shouts ]
- [ Laughs ]

[ Laughing ]

[ Engine Starts ]

♪ [ Piano ]
[ Man ]
And ladylike.

That's it.
And around we go.

And around.

Now the horsey.

Now another horsey.
And a peekaboo.

There we are.


Quiet, please! Quiet!

Evelyn, I have something
very important to say to you.

You know what this guy
is talking about?

Okay, five minutes.

Oh, uh, I, I, I--
Oh, I--

You moved.
You didn't tell me
where you were going.

I was evicted.
It wasn't my fault.

You said you'd come to dinner.
How was I supposed to find you?

Did I do something wrong?
What did I do wrong?
Just tell me.

Not now, sweetheart.
Yes, now!

I want an explanation.

W-- I can't think
about this right now.

I've got a lot
on my mind.
Well, so do I.

I'm trying to do well
in the firm.
I try so hard.

And sometimes everything
seems to be going fine,
and then I don't know.

I don't know
what's wrong with me.
It just all falls apart.

I can't-- I can't even
walk down the street...

without-- without being
afraid that somebody's
gonna talk to me.

I need you to be with me.

You have to, Evelyn.
Okay, darling, that's it.
Back to work.

I've gotta go.


That's not very nice, mister.
The lady wants to go.

You don't know what kind
of pressure I've been under.
I can't do anything about that.

Yes, you can!
I just want to know
where you live.

Just tell me
where you live!
Let go of my arm!

God-- Goddamn it!
I'm not talking to you!

This is none of
your goddamn business!

This is none of your
business! None of your--
Take it easy.

[ Bell Ringing ]

[ Bell Ringing ]

[ Shouting ]

- Excuse me.
- Hmm?

Could you tell me how long
that'll be standing there?

- How's that?
- I have to pass by.

Oh, well, uh,
you got your toll?

Toll? There's no toll
on this road.

Sure, there is.
This here's a private toll road.
Ain't it, fellas?

[ Men Agreeing ]

I've used this road
several times, and I've
never had to pay a toll.

Well, somebody must've
been sleeping on duty.

[ Men Chuckling ]

All right.
How much is the toll?

[ Clears Throat ]

Hey, uh, Willie!

How much is the toll today?

What's that--
A Model T?

- Who you driving it for?
- It's my automobile.

I own it.
[ Man Laughing ]

My God.
Don't that beat all?

[ Man Laughing ]
How much is the toll?

Oh, the toll.

Uh-- Let's see.

Today is Sunday.
Twenty-five dollars.

[ Men Laughing ]

We're trying
to raise a little cash for
a fire wagon with an engine.

Hell, we want to drive
to our fires in style,

just like you drive
to your cathouses.

[ Men Laughing ]

[ Engine Stops ]

[ Horn Honks ]

[ Man Laughs ]

[ Horn Honking ]

[ Chattering ]

Has he got the nigger
with him?

[ Man Giggling ]

Hey, Frankie.

What the hell
are you doing here?
Where is my car?

Is that it?

All right.
Let's just forget about it.
Go get your car.

[ Sighs ]
Thank you.

It's all right.
[ Man ]
Deal the cards. Let's go.

How many?
I call. Let's go.

Come on.
[ Men Chattering ]

Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
Ain't you got enough fires
to keep you busy, Willie?

What the hell's gotten into you?
Nobody around here can take
a joke anymore.


Could you please come here
and look at this?

Whew! That smells.
I want this cleaned up.

[ Fly Buzzing ]
[ Willie ]
Oh, I don't blame ya.

It's a hell of a shame.
[ Horse Whinnying ]

[ Chuckles ]
Brand-new car like that.
I want it cleaned up.

Go ahead. Clean it up.
Can it, Willie.
Nobody's laughing.

Now, what the hell do you boys
think you're up to?

I'll tell you exactly
what happened, Frankie.

This here fancy nigger parked
in front of the firehouse.

Now, if you don't think
that's a serious business,

tell me about it
when your house is burning,
we can't get the pump out,

and the road's all blocked
because of a nigger's car.

I had no intention
of stopping in front
of the firehouse,

but my way was blocked.

I don't know why you did this.
I never caused you any harm.

You blocked access
to an emergency service,

and I got witnesses here
to prove it!
You're lying.

Willie, no!
Don't you say
that to me!

- Nigger!
- Come on, come on, come on.

Over here.
Right there.

[ Horse Whinnying ]
[ Sighs ]

[ Sighs ]
There ain't
no real damage done.

Just... scoop the shit off,
take your automobile,
and get along outta here.

What do you say?

I'm not goin' nowhere
until my car is cleaned.

I don't want no trouble.
Just do as I say.

You know I'm telling
the truth.
Just get in your car--

Why are you letting
these men intimidate you?
Nobody's intimidating me!

You just don't know what you're
getting into, and I'm trying
to keep your nose clean.

Would you be a good boy
and just get along!

I want my car cleaned.

Clean it then, damn you!
Clean it and go!

I want the man who did it
to clean it!

[ Frankie ]
All right. All right.
Let me put it this way.

I can arrest you
for blocking
a public service exit,

for creating
a public nuisance...

and about ten other things
that I ain't gonna bother
to mention.

Now, am I making
myself clear?



I still want
my car cleaned.
Oh, for Christ's sakes.

Ain't you got
any sense in your head?
I'm trying to help you.

You leave me no choice.

I'm sorry.

You're under arrest.

[ Ringing ]

It's all right.
Yes, sir.



I see.
I'll be right down.

Better be getting yourself
some new help.

Once a nigger goes wrong,
there's no putting him right.

[ Typewriter Keys Clacking ]

Thank you, sir.

Whoa! Whoa!

Well, what happened?
You said there wasn't
any physical damage done.

There wasn't
when I was arrested.

[ Sighs ]

This is what I was saying.
You should have just
cleaned it up to begin with.

Now look what's happened.

Well, the damage
isn't that bad.

It shouldn't take much
to put it right.

Please, if you would be
kind enough to tell Sarah
what happened,

but tell her not to worry.

And tell her that I'll be
talking with her soon.

Hey, wait a minute!

I'm talking to you.


Well, you can't just leave
this out here all night,
you know.

You don't know
who's gonna come along.

It's a little late
for that kind of thinking,
and I have to work tonight.

Good afternoon.
That is not a very helpful
attitude, Mr. Walker.

We're trying to help you,
you know.

I've spent a lot of time trying
to get this business cleared up,
not to mention money.

I think we should
work out exactly what
we're going to do now.

I haven't decided yet.

Good afternoon.

Well, what's your
financial situation like?

[ Sighs ]
I have a little laid by.

I planned to use it
on my wedding, but I guess
it'll have to wait.

Mm. Mr. Walker, let me
give you some advice.

You spend the money
on your wedding.

Build yourself a home
and a family where you
can find some comfort.

And just forget
that some damn white man
caused you offense.

And that's your advice?

That's my advice, and I pray
you take it to heart.

"Just forget it"?
Is that it?

I've spent my whole life

You're a young man.
You better start learning now.

Learning what--
how to be a nigger?

Mr. Walker,
I'll thank you to leave.

I have some charity cases
you know nothing of.

I got clients with
real problems--

starvation, illness,


Yes, I want justice
for our people.
Yes, I do.

I want it so bad,
I can taste it.

If you think I'll go
to Westchester County pleading
the behalf of a colored man...

that somebody dirtied
his fancy car,

you are very much

Now, please,
you take this...

and leave my office.

I'm afraid you can't file
a complaint against
a volunteer fireman.

Why not?
Because they're not
an employee of the city.

We have no jurisdiction
over them.

Well, then whose jurisdiction
are they under?

Well, they got it wrong.
You're gonna have to go back
to the police department...

and tell them I said you should
file your complaint with them.

That's instructions
from the county clerk.

I don't care what they told you
at the county clerk's office.

Then tell me what
I'm supposed to do.

Just explain to me exactly
how I should go about it.

The first thing you can do
is go to the county clerk...

and tell the son of a bitch
not to send you back here!

Now-- now, listen.

All I'm saying is
that I want you
to talk to Mr. Walker.

[ Sniffles ]
I did.

He got hisself all crazy
over this thing.

He ain't got no time
for me now.

[ Sobbing ]
But, uh, that's
what I'm saying.

And we can't keep
you here forever.

I do my work around the house,
if that's what you want.

No, I only want one thing.

I want you to make
Mr. Walker understand...

that there's absolutely
no legal means...

for redressing this thing.

Why are you telling
her that? That's not
what the lawyers said.

Will you let me
handle this, please?

They said it would take
a lot of time and money,

but they never said
that there was no chance.

I am trying to present
this situation...

in a way she's capable
of understanding!

But you're lying to her.
Get out!

I told you to get
out of here!

Sarah? Sarah,
now, listen to me.


All right. Now, you can tell
Mr. Walker that if he'll
just marry you...

without any more
of this nonsense,

I'll pay to have
his automobile repaired.

That ain't gonna do
no good...

[ Panting ]
'cause he say it got
to be the firemen.

Oh, for pity's sake.
What difference does it make?

I told him--
I told him I'd clean it.

I'd clean it.
But he said no.

Well, if he's not willing
to see reason,

then it's your responsibility
to do something about it.

Do you understand?


It's your
responsibility now.

[ Baby Crying ]

[ Crying Continues ]

[ Coughing ]

Oh, baby.

Where's your mommy, huh?

Where'd your mommy go?

[ Crickets Chirping ]

♪ [ Band Playing ]

[ Crowd Shouting ]

[ Crowd Cheering ]

[ Cheering ]

[ Firecrackers
Continue Popping ]

[ Man ]
Ladies and gentlemen,

the vice president
of the United States,
Charles Fairbanks.

[ All Cheering ]

A few days ago,
I went to the president...

and I said to him,

"I'm about to visit the great
northeast of this country
and meet the people.

Is there anything
you want me to tell them?"

You know what he said?
He said to me,

"Charles, just tell them
that the door to my office
is always open."

[ Cheering, Applause ]

You good people of
White Plains voted for us
in the last election.

You knew what we stood for then.

We haven't changed,
and we hope you haven't either.

Good health, enterprise,

I'm talking about the man who
wants to get out there and do--

Stay back, please,
Stay back.
Mr. President!

...who sees an opportunity...

and grabs it by the tail.
Mr. President! Mr. Pres--

- Ow!
- You gotta help
Coalhouse Walker!

- [ Screaming ]
- [ Fairbanks Continues ]

♪ [ Band Playing ]
[ Blows Landing ]

[ Cheering ]

Make way.
Coming through.
Coming through.

I'm sorry. Make way.
Make way. Make way.

Her sternum was crushed,
and she's sustained very
severe internal injuries.

I'm afraid you'll have to keep
her dry and warm, and pray that
she doesn't develop pneumonia.

Uh, this is her husband.


The president knows
who you are now.

I said your whole name
before they got to me.

That's good.
Shh, shh, shh.

Don't talk now.

But I didn't get a chance
to tell him what you want.

So you gotta
write him a letter.
I will.

I spoke with a minister

He said he would marry us,
even with the baby and all.
Oh! [ Laughs ]

Now, we're gonna have
the whole Clef Club Orchestra.

They're gonna play for us.
And a choir.

[ Laughs ]
And it's gonna be
in a big, big church...

like you never seen before.


Which one?


You just rest.

♪ [ Band Playing Hymn ]

♪ [ Band Continues ]

Ah. That's two bits.

Jesus Christ.
You lucky bastard.

[ Irish Brogue ]
It's the luck of
the Irish, me boy.

[ Laughs ]
[ Phone Ringing ]

Answer the phone.

Hold those cards.
Nobody bets.
[ Ringing Continues ]

Emerald Isle Firehouse.

[ Crickets Chirping ]

Let's go, guys. This is it.
Come on. Let's go.

Come on.
Hey, kid, let's go.
Come on. Let's go.

Come on. Let's go.
Move! Move! Come on.
Down the pole.

[ Bell Ringing ]

[ Gunshots ]

[ Horses Whinnying ]

[ Gunshots ]
[ Dogs Barking
In The Distance ]

Where's Conklin?

Which one of you
is Conklin?
Don't shoot me!

Tell me which of you is Conklin.
I don't know!
[ Mutters ]

Where's Conklin?

Where's Conklin?
No! No!

Damn it, where's Conklin?
He's not here!

Let's go! Let's go!

[ Dogs Barking
In The Distance ]

"I want the infamous...

"fire chief, William Conklin,
turned over to my justice.

"I want my automobile
returned to me
in its original condition.

"When you are ready
to meet my demands,

"please make it known
in the newspapers.

"If you refuse me,
I shall continue...

"to burn firehouses
and kill firemen...

"until I have

Coalhouse Walker, Jr."

That's that crazy nigger
with the car!

So, you know
all about him, do ya?

- Sure as hell, I do.
- What do you know exactly,
Mr. Conklin?

Well, you had him all arrested
for parking his car illegal.

You had him behind bars
where he belongs.
Now he's running around loose.

Whose fault
do you suppose that is?
Not mine, I'll tell you that.

Well, Willie, we have
a little problem on our hands.

Well, you got a problem, do ya?
[ Chuckles ]

How do you suppose I feel?
Those were my men he killed!

We heard something
about excrement in his car.

So? What are you messin'
around with me for?

We're just trying
to piece it all together.

Go out and arrest every nigger
in the neighborhood.

One of them's bound
to know where he is.

They all know everything
about each other, right?

That's a grand piece
of thinking, Willie.

But, you see,

we had a different
sort of plan in mind.

What's that?
Offer to turn
you over to him.

[ Scoffs ]
You're a funny man, Inspector.

Well, Willie,
it's the easiest way
to find him, isn't it?

And the cheapest,
don't you think?

Hey, fellas, be serious,
will ya, huh?

I ain't laughing, you see.

Aren't we all
in this together?


Aren't we all
in this together?

[ Hoofbeats ]

- Would you say he seemed
fairly attached to the baby?
- Yes.

Do you think he'll try
to get the baby back?

I don't know.

I really don't know.

Maybe we should post
a man here at the house.

Just so there'll be someone
around who'll know what to do...

in case he tries
to get in touch.

Is that really necessary?

It's for your
own protection too.

You never know
with these people, if he
wants the baby badly enough.

Well, maybe in that case
we could take the baby
to my cousin's house.

No, ma'am, we prefer
that Mr. Walker knows
where the baby is.


I see.

It'd be better,
having someone here.

Good evening, sir.
A table?

I'm looking
for Coalhouse Walker.
He's a piano player.

Sorry. He doesn't work
here anymore.

Do you know where I could
get in touch with him?
It's important.

I don't know where he is.
Sorry. He stopped working here.

You don't have
any address--

Yes, I see.
Why should you trust me?

I'd like him to know
not to come near the house
in New Rochelle.

It's not safe.
Sorry, Mr. Walker
doesn't work here anymore.

I know, I know.

But if you could give him
the message. It's important.

Here's my card.

[ Knock At Door ]


May I come in?

Can you explain this?
What is it?

Someone in Harlem
gave it to the police.

They said a young man was
looking for Coalhouse Walker.

Yes, that was me.

Why did you do that?

I wanted to warn Mr. Walker that
our house was being watched.

You damn fool.

You don't seem to realize
how serious this situation is.

- I think I do.
- Then why did you
try to help him?

Are you planning
on doing it again?

I hope not because
I gave the inspector
my word of honor...

that you wouldn't do
anything foolish again.

Now, can I trust you?

- Yes, you can.
- Do I have your word on it?


[ Knock At Door ]

[ Knocking Continues ]

Mr. Walker?

Mr.-- Mr. Walker?

[ Man ]
What do you want with him?
I want to talk to him.

What do you want
to talk to him about?

Who are you?
Don't worry
about who I am.

What do you want to
talk to Mr. Walker about?
Get him a chair.

Mr. Walker?
That's right.

- Do I have to keep this on?
- I think you'd better.


What can I do for you?

Well, it's, uh,
just our house.

You know your son
is still there.

The... police...

have a man
watching the place.

Is that why you came here?



I design fireworks.
That's my job.

I can make bombs.

Fireworks, bombs--
it's the same thing.

[ Glass Shattering ]

Hey! Hey!
What's the idea?

[ People Shouting ]

[ All Shouting ]

[ Woman Shouting ]

[ Shouting ]

[ Shouting Continues ]

Get away from our house!

This is a private residence.
You're all trespassing!

Sir, let us see
the colored baby, okay?

[ Men Shouting ]


Thank God you're home.
Come in here.

Listen to me.
I want you to tell this man...

to make those people
go away.

They're screaming
the most horrible things
that the children can hear them.

Calm down, dear.
And he sits there.
He does nothing.

He's not protecting us.
I want him out of the house.
Darling, calm down!

Isn't this trespassing?
I don't want him here.
Come here.

He's not protecting us.
Just calm down.
Calm down a second.

Is your brother home?

He hasn't called, has he?

All right.

I think we should
leave New Rochelle
as soon as possible...

and wait until
all of this calms down.

Can you make the arrange--
What about my brother?
Where is he?

Will he come too?
Your brother--

your brother will do
what he wants to do,
as usual.

Now, will you make arrangements
to close the house down?

[ Doorbell Ringing ]

[ Horse Nickers ]

Wait a minute.
You can't leave that there.

[ Dog Barking ]

Don't turn around.
Just keep walking,
just like that.

Don't turn around,
and you won't get hurt.

Turn around.

Now run and don't
look back. Run!
Don't look back!

[ Approaching Hoofbeats ]

[ Shouting ]

Whoa! Whoa!

Good boy, good boy.

[ Chattering ]

[ Quiet Chatter ]

Come on.

Come on!
Goddamn it!
Bust it.

Come on!
Bust it!

Bust it!

[ Alarm Ringing ]

Well, come on!
Get it in!
Get it in!

All right.
Get rid of that wagon!

Yah! Yah!

Yah! Yah!

[ Alarm Continues ]

Come on!

Stay back!

Stay back, I said!

[ Crying ]

[ Man ]
Yes, give him that whack!
Try, Evelyn!

Run! Run, run a bit!
Run a little bit!
Make run the feet!

[ Shouting Gibberish ]

Evelyn, make a--
A little bit more angry!
More strained!

Open your eyes!
More! More angry!

Okay, more, uh, uh--

You want to kill her!
You will kill her!

Open your mouth!
You want to be more afraid!

Open your mouth!
Open, open! Evelyn,
you want to be very afraid!

Extremely! Extremely!

[ Speaking Yiddish ]

Play with your eye.
Play with your face.
Show with your tongue.

Forget about the belly
or the "peedgy-peedgy"
with the feet.

You understand?
Excellent. Wonderful.

It's good?
Hello, young gentleman.

Hello. Yes.
You saw the picture?
How do you like it?

What are you doing?
Now, come along.
These people are working.

He's your own son?

Very charming.
Oh, thank you.

Very nice to see you.
I'm sorry. Now,
come along, please.

Don't take him away.
Let him be here.

That's my daughter.
How do you do?

Say hello.

He's shy.

I'm shy too.

You know what's it?
A book?

It's... a majestic book.

[ Imitates Explosion ]

That's for you.
Take, take.
That's for you.

Oh, no, no,
we couldn't do that.

I give it like a present.

Well, thank you.

Is everything all right?

This is my husband.

Very nice.
My, uh, name,
Baron Ashkenazy.

My "gratulation" to you.
Baron. Uh, pardon?

My "gratulation."
You have very nice wife,
and your son is wonderful.

Oh, oh, I see.
Thank you.

- Can you dance, my little?
- Yes.

We'll finish on the film
and I'll make a party.

And you'll be my guest,
and you'll be together
with my daughter.

And you'll be
all my guest.

Well, if, uh, we're
still here, perhaps.

I forget to introduce you
with my better,

with my star,
Evelyn Nesbit.

She's, uh, very, uh--

a great talent.

I hope she'll
make me great.

It's very nice to meet you.
We read about you in the papers.
You're very beautiful.

Thank you.

It's high time to continue
our work. If you want to,
you can watch our film.

We don't forbid you.
Evelyn, come.

Would you please, Evelyn?
We have the light!

[ Dog Barking ]
[ Indistinct Shouting ]

You all set, Captain?
The whole building
is covered.

And I've got three groups of
five men ready to hit the place

[ Man ]
Let me through.

Let me through!
That's impossible, gentlemen.

That's simply
out of the question.
Who's he?

- I'm Mr. Vernon Elliott.
- Vernon Elliott.

He's the curator
for the Morgan Library.

What can I do for you,
Mr. Elliott?

That place
is a national treasure,

and if this climate
of violence continues,
I shall go to the president.

- You will, huh?
- Indeed I will,
if I deem it necessary.

By the way,
I'm Rheinlander Waldo,
commissioner of police.

Yes? Well, I'm honored.

And if any harm comes
to any object in that building,

with all due respect,
there'll be grave consequences.

How many are in there?
[ Officer ] We're not sure yet.
At least two.

Maybe more--
maybe much more.

But who are they?
What are they up to?


Well, Mr. Elliott,
why don't you go in and have
a word with them?

- I beg your pardon.
- Just explain the value
of the library,

see what they want--
that sort of thing.

That hardly seems
like the appropriate procedure,
Mr. Waldo.

And if you're making a joke
at my expense,

I assure you
there's nothing amusing
about my responsibilities...

as the curator
of Mr. Morgan's library.

Mr. Elliott... as long
as those guys are in there,

you are not the curator
of anything.

Give me a megaphone.

[ Whistle Blowing ]

[ Dogs Barking ]

I am Rheinlander Waldo.
I am Commissioner of Police.

I'm going to walk toward you.

I am not armed.

I want to talk to you.
Can you hear me?

I want to talk to you
inside the library.

If you'll let me come in,
please open the door
as I approach.

I am not armed as you can see.
[ Door Opens ]

- [ Dog Barking ]
-[ Man Shouting ]

[ Whistle Blowing ]
Come on!

That's it! Fall back!
That's it! Come on.
Down there. That's it. Back!

What was that?

Let me have that, please.
Please, please.

My God!

Tsk! That's a covered goblet.

- What?
- It's from the 17th century.

by Frederick of Saxony.

It's silver
inlaid with gold...

and studded
with precious gems.

Captain, go get it.




Captain, open it.

Well, what is it?
"Murray Hill, 8529."

- What? That's my number.
- What?

- My office in the library.
- Good.

[ Doorbell Ringing ]
[ Banging On Door ]

I'll get it, ma'am.
[ Man ]
Police. Open up.

[ Door Opens ]

Do you have a telephone?
We had nothing to do with it.

Do you have a telephone?
Yes, of course we do.

Where? Thank you.
In there.

There's the one upstairs,
but it's out of order.

[ Man ]
Ma'am, I would like you to sign
this formal release.

[ Woman ]
What are all these
policemen doing here?

I've never seen so many
policemen in my life!

I cannot understand this!
We'll deal with it later.

Where are they going?
You can't go in there.

I want to go in my house.

It's my own room in there.
What do you mean,
I can't go in there?

What are they doing in there
that they don't want me to see
them doing?

[ Captain ]
Central, this is
a police emergency.

Give me Murray Hill, 8529.

[ Operator ]
Repeat that, please.
I repeat, Murray Hill, 8529.

[ Woman ]
I don't understand this,
and I'm a moral woman.

I don't want anything going on
in this house I don't know
anything about.

Please open up the door.

Oh, I never saw anything
like this in my life.

Hello. This is
Rheinlander Waldo speaking.

[ Walker ] Mr. Waldo,
I want my car returned in
the same condition it was in...

when my way was blocked.

In return for the life
of my Sarah,

I want Fire Chief Willie Conklin
turned over to my justice.

Is that clear?

Who is this?
Who am I speaking to?

You're speaking
to Coalhouse Walker, Jr.

You have 48 hours
to meet my demands.

I should warn you
that this entire building
has been mined with explosives.

[ Line Disconnects ]

Hello! Hello?

Get that number again,
will you?

That's the crazy buck
from New Rochelle, isn't it?

- I think so.
- Oh, boy, oh, boy,
oh, boy, oh, boy.


- Get the police chief
from New Rochelle down here.
- Right.

And I want blueprints
of the library and
an explosives man.

- Yes, sir.
- Get the militia ready.

- Right.
- Where is J.P. Morgan?

Oh, he's on an expedition
down the Nile... in Egypt.

- Hmm. Lucky him.
- Yes, sir.

And contact some colored
big shots to talk for us
in case we need to negotiate.

Very good, sir.
Anything else?

Yeah. He said something
about a car and a fire chief.

Conklin. Willie Conklin.

Get him in.
I want to meet him.

Sir, that number doesn't answer.
What do you want me to do?

Get me some coffee and a roll.
Yes, sir.

[ Crowd ]
♪ Does Jesus bear

♪ The cross alone

♪ And all the world

♪ Go free

♪ Now there's a cross ♪

♪ For everyone
What do you people think
about this? Mr. Washington!

♪ And there's a cross ♪
Mr. Washington!

♪ For me

I want you to know
how much we appreciate this,
Mr. Washington.

I hope and pray
that his mind is open to reason.

Now, you don't have to
do this if you don't want to.

I'm ready, Mr. Waldo.

You're a brave man, sir.
You have my blessing.

[ Woman ]
♪ What

♪ A friend we have in Jesus

♪ All our sins and griefs
to bear ♪

♪ What a privilege to carry

♪ Everything to God in prayer

I think you know me by name,
Mr. Walker.

Open the door!

In the name of our people,
open the door!

[ Walker ]
I'm honored to meet you,
Mr. Washington.

Would you care for a seat?

You seem to know about me.

Of course I do.

I have a great admiration
for you, sir.

- Truly?
- Yes, sir.

How can you say that
when your actions...

are a mockery
of everything I stand for?

I had no choice in that, sir.

Mr. Walker,

I have spent a lifetime
trying to persuade the white man
that he needn't fear us--

that all we wanted
was a chance to work...

and prosper beside him...

and enjoy with him
the fruits of this great land.

Now, the example of 1,000...

honest, industrious black men...

cannot undo the harm
of one like you.

What you have done here
has set our race back...

a distance I can't measure.

And you say... you admire me.

I tried everything, sir--

every legal means
to get satisfaction--

and I was humiliated
at every turn.

The woman who bore
my child--

my child, Mr. Washington,

whom I may never see again--

she watched my pride
being snatched away from me,

piece by piece.

She believed in justice.

Oh, yes.

She went to the white man,
and she begged...

that I be given the justice
entitled to me by law.

She died begging for it.

I... beg you, Mr. Walker,

on behalf of our people,

your young son...

and all the children
of our race--

I beg you to give yourself up.

Bring your men
and follow me now.

I will intercede on your behalf.

Your trial... shall be swift...

and your execution painless.

If my automobile is restored...

and delivered
to the front of this building...

and the fire chief
is handed over to my justice,

[ Sighs ]
I give you my solemn oath...

I will come out
with my hands raised...

and no further harm
will come to this place
or to any man.

And you think this revenge
will restore your damaged pride?

I wouldn't be here
if I didn't think so.

Well, you are wrong, Mr. Walker.
You are wrong to the depths
of your soul.

- Why do you say that?
- Because vengeance
does nothing...

but perpetuate more vengeance
and on and on...

until some race can find
the strength to say, "No!

"The wrong done to me
I will not avenge!

"I shall stand with dignity
and Christian love...

"until my enemies
are won over...

because they honor
and respect me."

And only when this happens,
Mr. Walker,

shall we have our pride back.

All of us.

[ Laughing ]

My God, if only Sarah
could be here to listen to you.

She thought
I had a mouth on me.
[ Sighs ]

But you speak like an angel,
Mr. Washington.

[ Sighs ]
It's too bad we're living...
on the earth.

You are damned,

Mr. Walker.

[ Indistinct Chattering ]


We're starting, sir.

- [ Man Screams ]
-[ Glass Shatters ]

[ Waldo ]
Goddamn it!

♪ [ Ragtime ]

[ Glass Clinking ]
[ Man ]
Your ear!

Your ear!
Your ear, your ear!

My dear guests,
today we celebrate...

the ending
of my third photoplay.

My first photoplay had called
The Naive Daughter.

It cost me $500
and the profit was $10,000.

The second was even better
than the first,

and the profit was more.

my toast is for this...

what make me possible
to do everything.

Do you know what's it? Light.

You see the light of the candle?
It's very nice.

It shine through the glass.

It's refract.
The chandelier. It's convert.

It's transferring.
Small star.

And now we make pictures
from the light.

People pay a couple of penny
and they watch,

in a short time,
the whole life of man--

how they fight, how they eat,
how they lo-love.

It's no limits for our
opportunities in the photoplay.

And now we have a dance, please.

Dear, you remember
these gentlemen?
They're police.


Well, uh,
the feeling seems to be--

Well, they'd like to take
Mr. Walker's baby back
to New York with them.

We don't get explanations,
ma'am. We get orders.

Well, that doesn't
entitle you...

to just come along
and take a child away
without giving any reasons.

We're dealing with an extremely
dangerous criminal, ma'am.
You realize that, don't you?

What does that have
to do with it? We're talking
about the baby, not the father.

Ma'am, we don't have time to
stand around and talk it over.

If you want reasons, take it up
with the commissioner.

If he would like to explain
to me why he wants the child,
I'd be happy to listen.

We have a job to do.
Are you going to let us do it?

I'm not trying to stop you
from doing your job.

I'm afraid that's exactly
what you are doing.

Now, just a minute, gentlemen.
There's no need for that.

What my wife means is
that she is conc--
What I mean...

is they cannot have
that baby...

until we get an explanation.

You're making it
very difficult, ma'am.

I'm sorry about that.

Gentlemen, would you please
wait for us in the lobby?

I want a word with my wife.

Dear, this is becoming absurd.

They have no right
to bother us.

That's not the point.
We're involved now.

In their eyes,
we're helping Walker.

Well, then they're just
being ridiculous.

No, we're being ridiculous
if we don't protect ourselves.

But we are innocent.

[ Sighs ]
All right.

If that's the way
you're going to be,
I'm going back to New York,

with or without the baby.

Oh, please...

don't go.

Please don't
leave me here alone.

All right, Conklin.
Hold it right where you are.
You're under arrest! Take him.

No, no, no, no!
You're making a mistake!

For God's sake,
I'm not Conklin.
You're making a mistake!

- There's the man you want!
- You son of a bitch!

- Hold it!
Take that one out too!
- [ Old Man ] My God!

All right. Come on.

All right. Come on.
Straighten up, Willie.

Are you ready, Mr. Conklin?

Ready? Ready for what?
What do you mean?

You know that someone's been
asking for you, don't you?

What is this?

It's a joke, huh?
It's a joke, right?

No joke, Willie.

The library over there
is worth millions.

- So?
- And people keep telling me...

you're a worthless piece
of slime.

Hold him back!
Can't talk to me like that!

Shut up, Willie.
You're going to help us now.

You're going to talk
to that troublemaker,

and I mean talk hard
like you never talked before.

Because he wants you, Willie.
And if you can't make him change
his demands,

he's gonna get you.

I don't have to do this.
I want a lawyer.

- Waldo. Library, please.
- I got my rights, you know!


We have the fire chief
for you.

Send him over.

Take it.

[ Gasping ]
Release him.

Hey, listen to me,
you crazy nigger.

I've had enough of you,
you hear me?

You can't be thinking
that they're gonna give me
to the likes of you.

No. I know you--
I-I know you ain't that stupid.

No. You're one of them
smart niggers.

So how'd you ever own
a car like that, huh?

So what do you say we just
talk this thing over?

Yeah, I'm ready to do that.
I'll go halfway with you
on this thing. I don't mind.

Sort of like you come on over,
we'll sit down.

Have a nice talk, huh?
What do you say?

Look, the commissioner here
says he'll leave us alone.
Gave me his word.

What do you say, Walker?

Goddamn it, say something!

It was a joke, damn you!
Can't you even take a joke?

You can't talk
to that nigger bastard!

Jesus to hell!
Say something, would you?

Let me speak to Waldo.
He wants to talk to you.


- Send him over.
- Walker, listen to me--

[ Line Disconnects ]

What? No. What do you think
you're doing? No!

You're not taking me over there!

Let go of me, you goons!
Let go of me! You want to find
your houses burning?

[ Indistinct ]

You'll see! You'll see!

Touch one of us, you mess with
every fireman in the country!

Can't somebody please tell me
what is going on?

Can you just give me
a rough idea?

[ Whispering ]
There's not gonna be
a fireman left in sight.

Good. Tell him
I want to see him right away.

Would everyone please leave
the room? Thank you.

Gentlemen? Hurry, please.

Mr. Elliott, please.
Thank you.

Thank you. Yes.

The commissioner
will see you now.


[ Phone Ringing ]

[ Ringing Continues ]

Yes? Yes, I'll speak to him.

Um, Mr. Walker?

Hello, sir.
How are you?

Fine. Um--

I'd like very much
to have a word with you.

Would it be all right
if I came over?

Yes. That'll be fine.

It's your brother-in-law.

He wants me to come over.

Now you know
I can't take the responsibility.

Yes. Yes, I know.

- I want to go.
- Okay.

You're a brave man.

May I ask you a question,
Mr. Walker?

I can't stop you from asking.

Do you remember
my brother-in-law--

the young man
you met at my house?

Yes. Yes, I believe I do.

-Was he ever in touch with you?
-Is that why you came over here?

Well, in-- in part, yes.

What's the other part?

I... hoped, since we've...

known each other
under better circumstances--

I hoped I might prevail on you
to change your--

on you to ch--

to change your mind.

I haven't seen
your brother-in-law.

But you can go back
and tell Mr. Waldo that
I have changed my mind.

I'm ready to offer him a swap--

Conklin's life
for the freedom of my men.

All he's got to do
is deliver my automobile...

to the front door
of this library.

And when it's dark, my men
will use it to get out of here.

When they're safe...

and sure they haven't
been followed,

they'll call me here.

And I'll come out
with my hands up.
[ Man ] Hey, Coalhouse!

You be quiet, you hear?

Tell Mr. Waldo that if he
plays it straight with me...

that's exactly
how it will happen.

- You remember that?
- Yes.

- I th-- Yeah, I think so.
- Good.

Hey, brother. What is this?
You playing games with us?

Why you sayin' like
we leavin' without you? You know
that ain't gonna happen.

[ Chuckles ]
Zeke, you're a hothead.

You gotta calm down or else
your brains are gonna burn up.

Well, you said it.

I mean, Coalhouse,
didn't you say--

didn't you say that you were
gonna stay right here, huh?

I said a lot of things.

[ Chuckles ]
Then you're messin' with 'em.

You-- you got
somethin' else in mind.

You see that, Zeke?

When you calm down,
your brain starts to worki''
just fine.

Yeah. Yeah!

I don't get it.
I just don't get it.

It doesn't make sense to me.

He seemed perfectly rational
and coherent to me.

Well, maybe he thinks
he can sneak into the car and
escape with the rest of them.

Well, it'll be night,
it'll be dark.

He can't leave
the library alone.

That's all he's got.

The second we know it's empty,
we can blast that car to bits.

No. We can't do it.
We can't buy his terms.

Why not?

Let's say his men got away.

All right. There he is,
sitting on the detonator
and he knows he's a dead man.

The only freedom he's got left
is how to die.

He can let us fry him
in the electric chair,

or he can go "bang" and carry
the library to heaven with him.

I disagree.


I believe he means
what he says.

Well, that's damn big of you,

but I'm afraid your belief
isn't the iron-plated guarantee
that I need here!

Well, what if I was
in the library...

until Mr. Walker
gave himself up?

Would that be
sufficient guarantee?

Be a guarantee
that you're as crazy as he is.

Are you on the level?

You're saying...

you'd volunteer to go over there
and get yourself blown up
with that crazy buck?

I believe if you keep your word
and let his men go free,
I'll have nothing to fear.

Why, for Christ's sake?
What are you to him?

I'm no judge of these things,
Mr. Waldo.

I know the man isn't responsible
for his actions,

but in everything he's done
there's been a certain logic...

and, you'll excuse me
for saying it, an integrity.

I think he wants to...
be heard.

That's all. I think that's
what he's wanted all along.

If he blows himself up,
his story will die with him.

I think he wants
to bring his case to court.

- Library.
- [ Phone Ringing ]

- Yes?
- Walker, I'll accept
your new conditions...

if we can have a man
in there with you until
you give yourself up.

All right then.
Send him over.

Fine, fine.
Thank you, Mr. Walker.

I'm looking forward
to meeting you.

That's it.

Keep your fingers crossed,

I'll believe it all
when it happens.

Tell the militia to back off.
Keep them on standby.
Yes, sir.

And get a new Model T
and check that it matches.

Yes, sir.

Good luck. Captain,
may I have a word with you?

Yes, sir.

Mr. Waldo, may I use the phone?
I want to call my family.

Of course.

What do you think?
That's okay.
[ Phone Ringing ]

Essex and Sussex Hotel.
May I help you?

Room 216 and 18.

No, I'm sorry. They checked out
this morning, sir.

Yes, sir. I'm quite sure.

No. They didn't leave
any message.

You're welcome.

The area for two blocks
around J.P. Morgan's library...

is now an emergency zone.

the men you are following
must never suspect,

repeat, never suspect, that
their car is under surveillance.

And no one makes a move
until you've got the full
go ahead from headquarters.


You shouldn't have any trouble
spotting the target car,

unless there are a lot of new
Model Ts full of colored people
driving around all night.

[ Laughter ]

[ Whistle Blowing ]

they're bringin' it! Look!

[ Indistinct Chatter ]

[ Door Opens ]

Turn off all the lights.

Take this.

It's the telephone number here.

The minute you're sure you're
safe and haven't been followed,
I want you to call me.

- Wait a minute.
- I'm staying.

You heard me.

We ain't goin' nowhere
without you, brother.
We just can't do that.

Think about it.
If I get out of here,

I'd be hunted every day
of my life.

And that's no kind of life
for a man.

Is it?

But no one's seen you.

No one knows what you look like.

Tomorrow you'll be free
in the streets.

And you can start
gettin' folks to talkin'.

Now that's got to be better
than five dead niggers.

Coalhouse, you--

Look! You all stay here,
and we're all dead men.

Then what was all of this for?

You all the only life
I got left.

Now go on.

Get on outta here!


[ Engine Idling ]

How's my baby doin'?


- He said any words yet?
- No.

Oh, I--
I mean, I don't know.

I... haven't heard him.

If I was in prison,
I wonder if they'd let him come
and visit me.

I don't see why not.

Um... you may find this
hard to believe right now,

but I believe--
I really do believe...

that your situation,
legally speaking,

isn't... at all hopeless.

You think so?


You're an impressive
and articulate man.

Certainly nothing like people
have been led to expect.

I'd like to believe you.

I really would like that.

Mr. Walker,

are you planning... to let me
leave this place alive?

[ Horse Carriage,
Car Approaching ]

Sir? Sir, we lost them.

We had them as far as 34th
and Lexington.

They disappeared
before the next lookout post.
That's one block!

Yes, sir.
Son of a b--

[ Phone Ringing ]

Y-You sure
you weren't followed?

Good. Good.

Don't worry about me.
I'll be fine.

You all take care now,
you hear?

All right.

are they safe?


Well, shouldn't we...

uh... tell them...

that we're-- we're coming?


You go on ahead.

Tell 'em I'll be right out.

- Well--
- Just go on. I'll be with you.

- Don't--
- Go.

[ Stammering ]
Don't you think it would be...

a better idea if we--

Get the hell out of here!

Don't you understand anything,
white man?

Oh, damn it! Damn it!
This is it! I know this is it!

[ Walker ]
Lord, I'd hoped I'd have
the courage to know...

what I should do now.

You must see
how sick at heart I've been...

and how I've performed
this thing with little appetite.

I'd hoped... you'd reveal to me
along the way...

why you put such a rage
in my heart.

Tell me what to do now.


[ Sighs ]
God, tell me what to do.



[ Indistinct Chattering ]



[ Boy ]
Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

[ Cheering, Applauding ]

♪ One more hour

♪ One more day

♪ One more midnight

♪ Fade away

♪ One more sad song

♪ Play for me

♪ One more sad song

♪ Play for me

♪ Won't you play ♪

♪ For me

♪ One more sad song

♪ Play for me

♪ One more sad song

♪ Play for me

♪ Won't you play ♪

♪ For me